Middle Powers: Promoting the Principles of Multilateralism


Middle Powers: Promoting the Principles of Multilateralism



May 28, 2024

Countries such as Kazakhstan must actively promote their role not only as participants in global processes, but also as responsible players on the world stage, writes President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev  in an exclusive issue of Euronews . Kazpravda.kz  below  provides a full translation of the article by the head of state.

“ In today’s world, gripped by increased geopolitical turbulence and ongoing conflicts, multilateral solutions are more in demand than ever.

Armed conflicts in Europe, the Middle East and Africa are killing hundreds of thousands of people at a time when global challenges such as climate change have left millions hungry, unprotected and forced to flee their homes. These conflicts appear intractable, and hope for overcoming them is fading.

Against the backdrop of global contradictions, major powers - the world's economic and political giants - are increasingly losing their ability to act together.

The conflict in Ukraine has led to a diplomatic impasse, the situation in Gaza has turned into a massive humanitarian disaster, and tensions in the Indo-Pacific region threaten to lead to confrontation at the expense of more constructive engagement.

Meanwhile, structures designed to promote international consensus, such as the United Nations, are effectively paralyzed and limited in action.

The use of the veto by permanent members of the UN Security Council often leads to stalemates that prevent decisive action in combating global crises and to the repetition of scenarios that favor unilateral rather than collective action.

This further undermines the spirit of multilateralism and trust in international institutions.

Against this backdrop, middle powers such as Kazakhstan are emerging as key players with growing capabilities to bring greater stability, peace and development to their regions and beyond.

Indeed, countries like ours do not have as significant a global influence as the world's superpowers. But we have the economic power, the military capabilities and, more importantly, the political will and diplomatic acumen needed to exert significant influence on the world stage on issues ranging from food and energy security, the green transition and information technology to sustainability supply chains.

Our flexibility, unencumbered by the problems of superpower politics, allows us to navigate difficult diplomatic situations and find ways to compromise and agreement.

Moreover, the middle powers are firmly committed to preserving the system of multilateralism. Unlike superpowers, for whom these institutions can be a constraint on their own policies, our countries rely on these critical global mechanisms to resolve disputes, protect territorial integrity and address collective challenges, from climate change to pandemics. Kazakhstan remains committed to multilateralism and is constantly looking for new platforms for international dialogue and joint action.

In addition to consistent work in the field of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, we actively advocate for the creation of an International Biosafety Agency, whose activities will be aimed at preventing the devastating consequences of man-made pandemics and biological terrorism on a global scale.

We are honored to co-chair the inaugural One Water Summit with France this year. The purpose of this forum is to unite all countries and communities that face the problems of water shortage and desertification. In addition, we proposed to host in our country a new UN Regional Center for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for Central Asia and Afghanistan, designed to lead regional efforts to counter the effects of climate change.

We also offer our assistance in finding ways to resolve protracted conflicts. An example of this is our contribution to the peace negotiations between Azerbaijan and Armenia. These efforts reaffirm our belief that middle powers are capable of facilitating dialogue and promoting peace.

Next year marks the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Helsinki Final Act. This milestone is a good opportunity to reflect on the dangers of renewed divisions between world powers in the post-Cold War era.

But above all, this date serves as a reminder that the path to global unity is not unknown - it can be successfully completed. The world has overcome differences in the past and can do so again through diplomacy and dialogue.

At a time when the system of multilateralism is under serious pressure, only through the joint efforts of all countries - large, medium and small - will it be possible to breathe new life into it.

However, with major powers increasingly distrustful of multilateral processes and small countries lacking the necessary influence, it is the middle powers that must lead the process.

Countries like Kazakhstan must take a decisive step forward and assume the role of not only participants, but also responsible global players.

At this critical juncture, we call on all our international partners to join us in strengthening the spirit of multilateralism—revitalizing and investing in the global system that has brought us this far.

Our collective actions must reflect a shared commitment not only to a more peaceful present, but also to a prosperous and harmonious future.

The challenge ahead is monumental, but with determination, leadership and an unwavering commitment to dialogue, we can turn today's challenges into tomorrow's successes. And it is we who must pave the way for an era of renewal based on the principles of multilateralism . ”